Malaria is on the rise in more than 13 countries. And that is very scary!
The World Malaria Report 2018 shows us that after two decades of success in malaria control progress has not only come to a halt but malaria cases have significantly risen. The 10 highest burden malaria countries saw a rise of 3.5 million cases in 2017 as compared to 2016. The report is based on data from 91 countries and areas with on-going malaria transmission.
Globally, malaria cases increased from 217 million in 2016 to 219 million cases in 2017 and there were 451.000 estimated deaths in 2016 compared to 435.000 estimated deaths in 2017. In 2017, nearly 80% of all global malaria deaths occurred in 17, mainly African, countries and even 53% of all global malaria deaths were concentrated in 7 countries only: Nigeria (19%), Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%), Burkina Faso (6%), United Republic of Tanzania (5%), Sierra Leone (4%), Niger (4%) and India (4%).
As Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) mentioned “the data in this year’s World malaria report reconfirms that we are off course to meet two critical 2020 milestones of the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016- 2030: reducing case incidence and death rates by at least 40% from 2015 levels.”
‘Getting the global malaria response back on track’ – video message by the World Health Organisation Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
So what’s up next? If we do not want to lose the battle against malaria we need to take urgent action. But what action should that be? Waiting for the golden bullet is no option. We have done that for too long. Time matters. Lives are lost every day. An incredible amount of money is being spent on malaria research. Far too little is available for actual implementation. Research does not save any lives, implementation does. In the global professional malaria community, we have the tools, we have the knowledge, we have the people. And I wonder, do we really have the guts to look beyond our own area of expertise and see what is needed to successfully eliminate and control malaria?
I guess that’s a rather significant question…